Diane Mitsch Bush wins CD3 Democratic primary over newcomer James Iacino
In her second effort to win Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District seat, Diane Mitsch Bush beat political newcomer James Iacino in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.
As of 9:15 p.m., Mitsch Bush held 61% (59,022) of the 96,730 votes counted, according to the Secretary of State’s results.
Mitsch Bush said Iacino called her at about 8 p.m. to concede and congratulate her on the win.
“He very kindly called and conceded very graciously and gave me his strong support, ” Mitsch Bush said Tuesday night. “He was clear that we are going to work together to win this seat for the people. … I’m honored and humbled so many people voted for me.”
Mitsch Bush, 70, lost to Rep. Scott Tipton in 2018 by a 51.5% to 43.6% margin.
However, Tipton lost the Republican primary to political newcomer Lauren Boebert of Rifle. Boebert had 54.3% of the votes counted to Tipton’s 45.7% overall as of 9:16 p.m.; Tipton is ahead in Pitkin County with 544 votes to Boebert’s 279. He conceded the race to Boebert just after 9 p.m.
“It surprises me a little but I thought she might get a lot of traction in this race because of her base,” Mitsch Bush said of Boebert leading Tipton. “I was on a panel with her once, and she really stays on message and her beliefs are very strong and she is very articulate.”
Mitsch Bush, who moved to Routt County in 1976, was a two-term Routt County Commissioner, then represented Routt County and Eagle County in the State House of Representatives for three terms (2013-2017). While in the House she was chair of the Transportation and Energy Committee and vice chair of Agriculture and Natural Resources. She also served on the Joint House-Senate Water Committee for five years.
She was a tenured professor at Colorado State University and she also worked on the faculty at Colorado Mountain College, where she taught and did research for 11 years.
Iacino, 37, entered the race in October 2019 and stepped down as the CEO of Seattle Fish Co., which is his family’s business based in Denver and has an office in Montrose. He was running for his first office and now lives in Ridgway with his wife and two children.
“Last October when we launched this campaign, we had one goal in mind: to beat Scott Tipton and bring real representation back to western and southern Colorado,” Iacino said in a statement released Tuesday evening. “Our economy is in shambles, our environment is under extreme stress, and the ACA remains in a constant state of danger. I’m proud to stand with Diane Mitsch Bush because my priorities are the same as they were then, and I know she will fight for what is right and bring a real voice back to the 3rd District.”
He won the Democratic Party’s CD3 Assembly in April with 49 percent of the vote, just ahead of Mitsch Bush at 47 percent. Iacino had the endorsement of state Democrats including former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, Attorney General Phil Weiser, former CD3 Congressman John Salazar and former State Senator Gail Schwartz.
Tipton won the U.S. House seat in 2010, beating incumbent John Salazar (50.1% to 45.8%). He’s won re-election in 2012 (beating Sal Pace), 2014 (versus Abel Tapia), 2016 (beating Schwartz) and in 2018 against Mitsch Bush (51.5% to 43.6%).
Covering 29 counties over 52,000 square miles, Colorado’s 3rd District is one of the largest in the country. It stretches from Grand Junction to Pueblo and Cortez to Steamboat Springs.
This is a developing story that will be updated.